Saturday, November 6, 2010

The British Library Offers Free Access to Bibliographic Records

The British Library will make its extensive collections of bibliographic records available for free to researchers and other libraries. The U.K. national library has around 14 million catalogue records comprising a wealth of bibliographic data. The initiative will help expose this vast dataset to users worldwide, allowing researchers and other libraries to access and retrieve bibliographic records for publications dating back centuries and relating to every conceivable subject area.

For libraries, free access to these records will help reduce the effort involved in cataloging their holdings. For the wider research community, they are a valuable source of data to help advance knowledge.

As the national library of the U.K., the British Library seeks to provide world class information services to the academic, business, research, and scientific communities and offer access to a large and comprehensive research collection. The library’s collections include 150 million items from every era of written human history beginning with Chinese oracle bones dating from 300 BC, right up to the latest ejournals.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

VTLS Announces The RDA Sandbox!

The following is a VTLS press release about access to its RDA sandbox ...

VTLS Inc. announces its sponsorship of The RDA Sandbox, a special program designed to provide tools by which Libraries and librarians can practice creating MARC records following the Resource Description and Access (RDA) Implementation One Scenario.
Participants in the program will have access to a Virtua™ database with over 250,000 MARC FRBRized linked records. Participants will also be provided with a specially customized Virtua Cataloging Client that will allow them to create and modify their own RDA records in the shared database.

Virtua, a remarkably intuitive, full-featured integrated library system, has been configured with a simplified interface specifically designed for The RDA Sandbox program. Special user’s guides and other documentation, as well as email support services will be provided. An online forum for participants to post comments and compare notes will be offered as well.

The cost for participation is only $60; however, the first individual from the first 20 institutions that sign up will be given a credit back on their credit card that is equal to the amount charged. The program is open to librarians across the globe (although not to competitors of VTLS Inc!), and will run now through January 2011.
Sign up here for access:
Questions concerning the RDA Sandbox program may be directed to John Espley, Principal Librarian at

Friday, September 24, 2010

Free cataloging webinar by Deborah Fritz - MARC 21 in your library

Kudos to my colleague and friend Deborah Fritz for offering a free webinar to the cataloging community during tough economic times. Deborah recently rolled-out MARC 21 in Your Library -Part 1- MARC and Bibliographic Information: the Underlying Fundamentals as an online FREE series of nine webcasts or web-based, self-paced, mini-courses, available anytime on the TMQ website at:

Part One Sessions

1.1 Bibliographic information—What is it? (Self-paced, approx. 25 min.)

1.2 Bibliographic information—Why Do We Need It? (Self-paced, approx. 20 min.)

1.3 Bibliographic information—How Do We Know What To Provide? (Webcast, approx. 30 min.)

1.4 Bibliographic information and MARC (Webcast, approx. 20 min.)

1.5 MARC Records—What Are They? (Webcast, approx. 20 min.)

1.6 MARC Records—Why Do We Need Them? (Webcast, approx. 15 min.)

1.7 MARC Records—Where Do We Get Them? (Self-paced, approx. 30 min)

1.8 MARC Records, Bibliographic Information, and Library Catalogs (Self-paced, approx. 65 min.)

1.9 MARC and Bibliographic Information—How do I speak it? (Webcast, approx. 35 min.)

Trainees are advised to work their way through Part One at their own pace, and then register online for the live online Part Two sessions which is offered at a subscription price ($135). Attendees can register for the Part two session on the OCLC website.
Click here to register for the Part Two modules


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report - ACRL publication

The ACRL publication Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report is a review of the quantitative and qualitative literature, methodologies and best practices currently in place for demonstrating the value of academic libraries, developed for ACRL by Megan Oakleaf of the iSchool at Syracuse University.

The primary objective of this comprehensive review is to provide academic librarians with a clearer understanding of what research about the performance of academic libraries already exists, where gaps in this research occur, and to identify the most promising best practices and measures correlated to performance.

Report in PDF

Executive Summary

Author's podcast

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bloglines to officially close service October 1 2010

Bloglines, one of the earliest web-based RSS readers, and one which I have used religiously over the years, is scheduled to officially close on October 1 2010. According to a report on the Read Write Web "while it was one of the early success stories of the RSS movement, the service never managed to get its groove back after the launch of Google Reader and a number of technical issues that made Bloglines very unreliable for a while".

Users who store and manage web content on Bloglines will now have to think about migrating to other rival services such as Google Reader. On the Bloglines website there are simple instructions currently posted on how to export current subscriptions. This comes as a surprise to the many loyal users who have consistently used and relied on the service for years.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Libraries Stack Up - OCLC 2010 report

In the US, we go to libraries to find jobs, create new careers and help grow our small businesses. We borrow books, journals, music and movies. We learn to use the latest technology. We get the tools and information needed to reenter the workforce. We get our questions answered, engage in civic activities, meet with friends and co-workers and improve our skills at one of the 16,600 U.S. public libraries. Every day, our public libraries deliver millions of dollars in resources and support that meet the critical needs of our communities. BUT how do libraries compare/stack up to the corporate/for-profit world in these areas?

OCLC did the research and came up with a two page 2010 report (pdf) called How Libraries Stack Up.

Monday, June 21, 2010

ALA 2010 conference - panel discussion on career growth and promotion

If you can find the time during ALA annual please come to this session which I helped to organise on career growth and promotion...

Dr. John C. Tyson Award Committee of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association will host a panel discussion on "What do I Need to Know? Strategies for Career Growth and Promotion at ALA Annual 2010 Conference, Washington, DC. The workshop will be held at Four Points Sheraton in the Franklin C/D rooms on Sunday, June 27, 2010, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

The purpose of the What Do I Need To Know? Strategies for Career Growth and Promotion" program is to impart career strategies to librarians preparing for promotion and leadership. A panel of veteran librarians from various areas of the profession will discuss their career paths to higher management positions and provide similar strategies for 21st century librarians.
As we continue to plan the presentation for ALA 2010, we would like to hear from you. What would you like to hear from our panelists regarding career paths and strategies for 21st century librarians and information specialists? To facilitate this process, we have created a blog for you to post your questions, comments or suggestions. The blog is located at the following URL Please visit the blog and be part of this discussion. We want to hear from you!

RDA Toolkit available - complimentary access period June - August 2010

The RDA (Resource Description and Access) Toolkit is now available to help catalogers navigate from AACR2 to RDA. RDA is the new, unified standard for resource description and access, designed for the digital world and an expanding universe of metadata users. The RDA Toolkit will be available at no charge for everyone to try from mid-June 2010 through August 31, 2010.

Here is a link to a webinar on how to use the RDA Toolkit:

Some RDA Toolkit highlights:
-RDA instructions that are searchable and browseable
-AACR2 Rule Number Search of RDA instructions
-Workflows, mappings, examples: tools to customize the RDA instruction set to support organizational training and processes
-Two views of RDA content—by table of contents and by RDA element set
-What you need to evaluate and implement RDA; to make cataloging decisions based on principles; to increase efficiency; to facilitate collaboration; and to help position the community for the future by making bibliographic data accessible on the Web
-Full text of AACR2 with links to RDA

The content of RDA has been developed in a collaborative process led by the Joint Steering Committee (JSC). The project is overseen by the Committee of Principals representing American Library Association, Canadian Library Association, CILIP: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, Library of Congress, Library and Archives Canada, British Library, and National Library of Australia. The RDA Toolkit is published by American Library Association, Canadian Library Association, and CILIP (through its publishing imprint Facet Publishing).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Librarian's spin on Lady Gaga's Poker Face

A group of University of Washington librarians and library science students have made their own rendition of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" -- library-style, of course.

"You got a question that is causing you some pain," the rewritten lyrics go. "Typin' keywords into the search engine again." Can use my, can use my, you can use my catalog... don't forget the databases. View it here:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Super computational engine Wolf|ram Apha - a review

In its FAQ page, developers of Wolfram Alpha are quick to point out that Wolfram Alpha is not a search engine. It is described instead, as a computational knowledge engine. When a user plugs a query into the search box provided, WA generates output by doing computations and providing answers using its built-in knowledge base and algorithms, instead of searching the web and returning links.

As of now, WolframAlpha contains 10+ trillion pieces of data, 50,000+ types of algorithms and models, and linguistic capabilities for 1000+ domains. All data in WolframAlpha is centrally curated and audited bythe WA Team. This team also use a portfolio of automated and manual methods to check data, including statistics, visualization, source cross-checking, and expert review.

The lofty goal of this computational engine is to take as much of the world knowledge as possible and make it computable and accessible to everyone. Taking all the data, methods, models and algorithms accumulated during our civilization and make this immediately computable so that anyone, anywhere, can go on the web and use that knowledge to compute answers to their specific questions.

Their target group is indeed wide-ranging spanning all professions and education levels. Any level, from kindergarten to graduate school to a practitioner in the field can use this engine to get answers. For example for kindergarten students, WolframAlpha can do simple arithmetic what is 2+2, showing a step by step calculation. For the graduate student, what is the GDP of France, for the researcher how many internet users in Europe?

This seemingly super computational engine does list some of its main limitations as follows: engine can only know things that are known, and are somehow public; only deals with facts, not opinions; limits the computation time for each query; and of course, it's in continual development (continuous beta).

Click here to view tutorial video

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ALA President-Elect discusses the latest trends, challenges and triumphs of libraries

In a SirsiDynix Institute event celebrating National Library Week, American Library Association President-Elect Roberta Stevens gives a video presentation on ALA's annual report on the state of America's libraries. Ms. Stevens, who presently serves as outreach projects and partnerships officer at the Library of Congress and as project manager of the National Book Festival, has spent more than 35 years in librarianship.

Video is available here:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

RDA (Resource Description and Access) Toolkit - a video tour

For Catalogers and other Metadata specialists, here is the URL link to a sneak peek of RDA (Resource Description and Access) Toolkit. RDA replaces AACR (Anglo American Cataloging Rules) as the new cataloging standard. The video (almost 1 hour) titled RDA Toolkit: a guided tour was released by ALA Publishing during ALA Midwinter in Boston and is available at this link:

The tour includes:
• Description of the RDA Toolkit
• Overview of the RDA Toolkit contents at launch and beyond
• Tour of the RDA Toolkit interface including Search, Browse, Bookmarks, Workflows, Maps, and more
• Launch timeline
• Details of the Complimentary Open Access period
• RDA Toolkit pricing for the US
• Linking from external products to the RDA Toolkit

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New 'Did You Know' video series

This is another official update to the original 'Did You Know' video series. This Fall 2009 version includes facts and statistics focusing on the changing social media landscape. Here are some interesting facts:

Did you know:

  • Over 1,000,000 books are published worldwide every year

  • Google books search scanner can digitize 1,000 pages every hour

  • Americans have access to 1,000,000,000,000 web pages; 65,000 iphone apps

  • print newspaper circulation is down 7 million over the last 25 years, BUT in the last 5 years unique readers of online newspapers are up 30 million

  • 250 million unique visitors collectively visit social network spaces such as You Tube, Face Book and My Space every month

The video posted on YouTube is available here

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Economic trends in libraries - ALA report

Here is an ALA press release about a new report with information on 2009 economic trends in libraries and 2010 outlook:

January 12, 2010

CHICAGO – At every turn, news reports and research indicate fairly dramatic changes in U.S. library funding, services and staffing – most occurring in the last 18 months. According to a new report prepared by the American Library Association (ALA), libraries of all types are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn while managing sky-high use.

Compiled from a broad range of available sources, The Condition of Libraries: 1999-2009 presents U.S. economic trends (2009), and summarizes trends in public, school and academic libraries across several library measures, including expenditures, staffing and services. The report also highlights trends in services provided to libraries by library cooperatives and consortia.

“This report was prepared to inform and assist library leaders as they plan in these very difficult times,” said ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “It succinctly brings together diverse strands of data from the past decade to provide a useful benchmark for the library community and its advocates.”

As communities and academic campuses develop future fiscal plans, it is clear that all types of libraries are visibly hard hit. In a fall 2009 report prepared by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 34 states had reported cuts to higher education, which impacts academic libraries; and 25 states had cut funding to K-12, which impacts school libraries. Total state budget shortfalls for fiscal year 2010 are $178 billion, and FY2011 are estimated to be roughly the same.

Public libraries also have been affected. While the full impact of the economic downturn remains fluid and the data challenging to assemble, what is known is that flat funding has been an obstacle – perhaps even a chronic problem - for many libraries this entire decade. Confirming evidence from a 2006 ALA study of public library funding, a 2009 survey conducted as part of the Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study revealed a worsening of funding – about 20 percent reported flat funding continuing in FY2010 and a majority reported budget reductions. Of those with budget cuts, about 20 percent reported 5-to-10 percent reductions in FY2010 from FY2009.

Library trends include:

School Library Media Centers
At a time when school enrollment (K-12) is growing, almost all schools reported in 2009 a decrease in funding for information resources, with a median per-student expenditure of just over $12; and
Fewer school libraries served more students in the 2006-2007 school year compared with the 2002-2003 school year; and
Total SLMC staff grew slightly, then declined in the 2006-2007 school year compared with 1999-2000.

College and University Libraries
While student enrollment at colleges and universities has declined since 2004, library use continues to increase. During a typical week in 2008, academic libraries reported more than 20.3 million visits, up from 18.7 million in 2006. They also provided more than 498,000 informational services to groups attended by more than 8.9 million students and faculty, up from 471,000 sessions attended by 8.3 million in 2006;
In fall 2008, 72 percent of academic libraries reported providing library reference service by e-mail or the Web, about the same as in 2006; and
Operating expenditures rose modestly during the period 2002 to 2008.

Public libraries
Total public library circulation and circulation of children’s materials continue to rise. Circulation of children’s materials has accounted for between 32.9 and 35 percent of total circulation between FY2002 and FY2007. Total circulation of public library materials has grown each year – up to 7.4 items per capita from about 6.8 items in FY2002;
Most public library Internet services have grown between 2006 and 2008, most notably audio and video content; and
Total public library operating expenditures have varied little year-to-year and typically align with inflation rates. Staff account for the largest portion of expenditures, followed by “other” expenditures (technology, utilities, programming, etc.) and collections.

The full report is available at

Individual reports by type of library are available at

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti needs our help

My thoughts and prayers are with Haitians today as they are grappling with what can best be described as a natural disaster of epic proportions. A 7.0 earthquake yesterday (January 12) may have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. I have been viewing graphic images on the Internet, TV broadcasts and social networks.

Please lend support in anyway that you can through local or international charitable organizations. Here is a list of a few organizations:

The American Red Cross is pledging an initial $200,000 to assist communities impacted by this earthquake. They expect to provide immediate needs for food, water, temporary shelter, medical services and emotional support. They are accepting donations through their International Response Fund.

UNICEF has issued a statement that "Children are always the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster, and UNICEF is there for them." UNICEF requests donations for relief for children in Haiti via their Haiti Earthquake Fund. You can also call 1-800-4UNICEF.

Donate through Wyclef Jean's foundation, Yele Haiti. Text "Yele" to 501501 and $5 will be charged to your phone bill and given to relief projects through the organization.

Monday, January 11, 2010

2009 in review - Top IT trends, services and products

If you, like me, always reflect on the top IT trends, services and products for the year gone by, here are four websites with information to to satisfy your curiosity.

Read Write Web
Every December Read Write Web publishes a series of annual review posts comprising their picks for best products, analysis of the top companies and predictions for the coming year.
2009 in review:
2010 predictions:

Information Today NewsBreak
Paula J. Hane, Information Today, Inc.'s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks shares her thoughts on the top IT trends for 2009 and her predictions for 2010 in an in-depth two part article:
Review of the Year 2009 and Trends Watch:
Yahoo! Year in Review 2009

2009 Year-End Google Zeitgeist:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Are you Librarian 2.0?

In this new Web 2.0 environment one often hears the question: how do information professionals maintain relevancy in a world where the Internet, emerging technologies and rival information providers such as Google are perceived as satisfying the information needs of our clients, usurping primacy in a field which we have long dominated?

My seemingly logical answer, is to provide you with my personal checklist of competencies (professional and personal) required to become Librarian 2.0:

√ Have the capacity to learn constantly and quickly
√ Monitor new ways of organizing and accessing resources
√ Monitor trends in technology
√ Possess the temperament to work independently as well as work on a team
√ Have the propensity to take risks and work under pressure
√ Be service/user oriented
√ Be skillful at enabling and fostering change
√ Have a sense of humor (most important)
√ Be committed to continuing education (formal and informal). A great place to start is by completing the Learning 2.0 Program All you need is 15 minutes a day.
√ Conducting research and publishing results
√ Reading professional literature - especially outside your field
√ Become actively, and in some instances, brazenly involved in ILS design and usability studies
√ Continue the cooperation and collaboration among the global community of librarians
√ Become an advocate for the profession by marketing the value of Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0 to decision makers.

If you are interested in reading more about the links between Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and Librarian 2.0. read my recent article in Computers in Libraries Nov/Dec 2009 issue. The article is titled Web 2.0, Library 2.0, Library User 2.0, Librarian 2.0: Innovative Services for Sustainable Libraries.

Here is a link to the full text